Following a standoff in a Washington state county courtroom Friday, a man reportedly escaped after shooting a sheriff’s deputy in the shoulder and stabbing a judge in the neck. The man is still at large.
Treachery among the tree farms
The incident occurred Friday afternoon in the western Washington town of Montesano, which bills itself as “Home of the Tree Farm.” The town is located just more than 100 miles southwest of Seattle.
No official court business
Rick Scott, Grays Harbor County’s undersheriff, told reporters it was unclear why the man was present at the courthouse. He said:
“It doesn’t appear he was here on any official business.”
Altercation occurred about noon
Courthouse officials were alerted to the presence of a suspicious man at about noon Friday. He was approached by a sheriff’s deputy Polly Davin, leading to an altercation in which the deputy was shot in the shoulder. It is unclear what the confrontation was about or who initiated the attack. The suspect fled on foot.
Judge and deputy in stable condition
Reports are not clear about how or when Superior Court Judge Dave Edwards was stabbed. However, both victims are reported to be conscious and in satisfactory condition at the Grays Harbor Medical Center.
Grays Harbor Community Hospital spokesman David Quigg said:
“They are comfortable and doing well.”
The suspect, identified as Michael Eugene Thomas, was described as a stocky Caucasian with sandy hair. His age was not identified, but it is believed he was carrying a briefcase.
Large-scale manhunt ensued
A massive-scale manhunt was under way for the man immediately following the incident. Local schools were closed down with students and staff sent home in the name of safety while the manhunt was in progress. According to the Grays Harbor County Office of Emergency Management, all county offices were also closed down early.
Suspect cornered, SWAT team converges
Law enforcement officials finally cornered the Caucasian man in a house in Montesano. According to a neighbor — who only gave her name as “Kami” to reporters from local NBC affiliate KING-TV — the house is owned by an elderly couple. Authorities say the residents were not at home and were not believed to be suspects in the matter.
SWAT officers arrived and lobbed teargas into the home to flush out the suspect. Police dogs were sent in before officers closed in on the house.
Suspect at large
Earlier reports falsely reported that Thomas had been captured and was in custody. Those reports have since been updated. The suspect is still at large and the manhunt continues.
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